Trenton's Next Mayor and the City's Schools

I covered Saturday's mayoral forum for WHYY Newsworks:
At the mayoral forum Saturday morning "Setting Trenton's Education Agenda," sponsored by the Citizens Campaign at the Living Hope Empowerment Center, five mayoral contenders proposed remedies to ameliorate this city's troubled school system.

While there was consensus on the need for a greater emphasis on vocational and recreational services for the 13,000 students enrolled in Trenton Public Schools, candidates differed on issues of reform, funding, and accountability.

Hovering above the animated audience and the mayoral hopefuls was the specter of Trenton's former mayor, Tony Mack, who was the subject of a U.S. Justice Department investigation into bribery, fraud, extortion, and money laundering and was convicted on all counts, and removed from office Feb 26.  Trenton Councilman George Muschal is currently serving as acting mayor.

The five mayoral hopefuls who gave prepared remarks and answered pre-screened questions were Eric Gordon, Jim Golden, Kathy McBride, Paul Perez, and Walker Worthy. The sixth, former North Ward Councilman Bucky Leggett, was a no-show.

Their focus was Trenton Public Schools, beset by a litany of woes: a 48 percent graduation rate, a $10.5 million deficit in its annual $267 million operating budget, pending layoffs of 77 employees, the fiscal burden of expanding charter schools, and a five-year displacement of almost 2,000 students while Trenton Central High is rebuilt.
Read the rest here.

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